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(Peterborough, N.H.) –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called for ongoing support of land conservation efforts and talked about their importance to New Hampshire’s tourism and recreation economy during a visit today to outdoor apparel retailer Eastern Mountain Sports in Peterborough.

“Our beautiful state of New Hampshire has so many natural treasures. Many of them, like the White Mountain National Forest, draw visitors from all over the world. It is important we all work together to continue protecting and preserving these areas. It’s not just good for the environment, it’s also a smart move for our economy,” Shaheen said. “I want to thank Eastern Mountain Sports for hosting me today and for serving as a great ally in building support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

During the visit Shaheen discussed the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program, which provides funding to acquire new federal recreation lands, as well as matching grants to states and local governments to buy land and develop public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.

New Hampshire has received more than $100 million in LWCF funding over the life of the program. This money has been used to support more than 650 local recreation and conservation projects, as well as to protect the state’s most treasured national places like the White Mountain National Forest, Appalachian Trail, Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge.

 “Outdoor recreation and public lands drive $646 billion in direct consumer spending and 6.1 million sustainable American jobs,” said Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports.  “LWCF protects and provides the open space, parks and trails to fuel this economic engine. Investing in open space is an investment that has paid off, and will continue to pay off here in New Hampshire in terms of employment, tourism and economic activity. I applaud Senator Shaheen for crossing the partisan divide and advocating strongly for LWCF funding.”

According to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), New Hampshire’s active outdoor recreation economy supports 53,000 jobs across the state, generates $261 million in annual state tax revenue and produces nearly $4 billion annually in retail sales and services, accounting for nearly eight percent of gross state product. In April, Manzer presented Senator Shaheen with the OIA’s Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award.

Each year, Shaheen leads a bipartisan letter to the Senate Appropriations committee requesting robust funding for the LWCF program.  Shaheen supports a Senate bill (S. 1265) that would permanently authorize the program at $900 million per year and provide dedicated funding so it would not be subject to annual Congressional budget debates.

Based in Peterborough, Eastern Mountain Sports is a retailer and producer of outdoor apparel and equipment. The company operates 65 stores from Maine to Virginia and offers climbing schools, kayaking classes and ski classes in eight states. Eastern Mountain Sports is a member of the Conservation Alliance, which has contributed more than $9.5 million to conservation projects throughout North America.